Strap on Praise!

Whatever battle or disappointment you find this day,
Remember the LORD’s Strong Arm is not shorten
Nor is He unable or unwilling to save!

Cloudy and gray,

Road signs point,

 Disaster coming our way.

But Your Love speaks a better Word!

One filled with Hope and not dread!

For You inhabit the praises of Your people;

For You are a Living God Whose Miracles

Continue to raise the dead!

Sing a new song, oh Your people,

Strap praise on thy thigh,

For the battle is the LORDS

When see through His eyes!

“O our God…we have no power against this great multitude (the concerns of our hearts) …nor do we know what to do,

But our eyes are upon You.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV

“So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa (valley of the trumpet); and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah (praise) and you inhabitants of Jerusalem (peace): Believe the LORD your God, and you shall be established…” 2 Chronicles 20:20 NKJV

“…he (Jehoshaphat) appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of Holiness, as they went out before the army (the power of praise in their hands) and were saying:

“Praise the LORD,

For His mercy endures forever.”

Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against (their enemies) and they were defeated.” 2 Chronicles 20:22 NKJV

Whatever battle or disappointment you find this day,

Remember the LORD’s Strong Arm is not shorten

Nor is He unable or unwilling to save!

“Awake, awake!

Put on Your Strength,

O arm of the LORD! Isaiah 51:9 NKJV

“Strengthen the weak hands,

And make firm the feeble knees,

Say to those who are fearful-hearted

“Be strong, do not fear!” Isaiah 35:3 NKJV

“Thus says the LORD to you:

“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude

For the battle is not yours,

But God’s!” 2 Chronicles 20:15 NKJV

“Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Wise choices will watch over you.

Understanding will keep you safe.”

Proverbs 2:9-11 NLT

Bring on 2021!

Prayers for each of you and your families as we strap on praise and enter into His peace for the coming new year!

Denise xoxox

Poem and photo dbalog©

The Circle Dance

2020-12-30

Gilgal – The Circle Dance

It’s been a while since I picked up my Joshua journal, opening the book, thumbing through the pages finding today’s date – Day 30 – and the words penciled – Gilgal.

Gilgal – the circle dance.

Spinning back around to the Promises of God. Held back, often by ourselves or the people we travel with in life, from the Promises of God. –

What is my Gilgal?  What promises am I circling back around to today? Lord, I don’t believe it is by happenstance I reached for this book today. What are You speaking on this 30th day of this season?

“Command the priest who bear the ark of the Testimony to come up from the Jordan…and it came to pass, when the priest who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD and come from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet touched the dry land, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before….and they camped in Gilgal.” Joshua Chapter 4:14-20 NKJV

Gilgal – The place where the priest, (a shadow of you and me) the place where the priest feet stood firm (trusting in God) in the crossing of the Jordan, (into the Promise Land) bearing the Ark of the Covenant, (His Word tucked into our spirit, soul, and mind) to come up out of this year stepping into all the good promises found in His Word and encamp there (staying in the Word, circling back around time and time again to His faithful promises) in the coming new year.

The circle dance of Gilgal.

“The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, Amen.” Galatians 6:18 NKJV

Denise

“Praise the Lord!

Sing to the LORD a new song…

Praise His name with dancing…

For the Lord delights in His people.”

Psalm 149:1-4 NLT

A Light has Shined!

To give Light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Luke 1:79 NKJV

I felt myself slipping into depression. Sadness moved into my heart and positioned itself to stay. Grieving for my Country, her people and our future is overwhelming for a someone who likes to fix things.

In quiet time, I heard my Friend say to me,

 “Peering too long into the darkness causes you to lose your Light.”

This truth pulled me back from the edge of the pit saving my spirit, and bringing hope back into my soul.  

 I pray these verses brighten your day as we walk in the His Light together.   

Denise

“To give Light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79 NKJV

“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed…upon them a Light has shined.” Isaiah 9:1-2 NKJV

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NKJV

Photo capture by denisebalog©2020

Day 30 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous –
31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Thirty – Gilgal – Circle

“…the king of the people of Gilgal, one.” Joshua 12:23 NKJV

Gilgal – means circle. Stemming from the Hebrew root word, galgal, which means a wheel, or a cartwheel used in the process of threshing or crushing grain, and a tool used to draw water from a well.

Lord, You are a God of seasons and times. In Your perfect order, the road turns back around to circle the story of where the people began.

As Joshua completed his appointed circle of time, he reminded the people as they came to the end of their journey with him, to “hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.” Joshua 23:8 NKJV

Joshua was circling back around to remind them of the faithfulness of God. “And you know in all your heartsnot one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. Joshua 23:14 NKJV

In the place of their ending, the victory for the future would rely on their circling back around to remember the faithfulness and the Promises of God.  

“All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.” Joshua 23:14 NKJV

I don’t know what season you are personally walking through, but as Joshua encouraged the people to remember, may we too be encouraged to circle back around and remember God faithful and He keeps His promises.

“God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for Himself as a cherished, personal treasure…He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promises He made to your ancestors.”Deuteronomy 7:6-8 MSG

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2011 – Memorial displayed outside The Knesset, Israeli (Parliament) building. Designed by artist David Palombo. It memorializes the fallen soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces. This artwork visually provokes the image of the crown of thorns Jesus bore on His head.

Day 29 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Twenty-nine – Dor – Dwelling

“…the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one.” Joshua 12:23 NKJV

The definition of Dor is dwelling – Stemming from the word dowr, (dore) a masculine noun meaning generation to generation. It can also mean a period of time, a setting of time, a circle of existence.

Joshua and his generation was not exempt from facing the enemy of the season or circle of time.

“Now it came to pass, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel … Joshua was old, advanced in age.” Joshua 23:1 NKJV

“And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, …” Joshua gathered them all together.” Joshua 23:2

Joshua gathering, those in position in this period of time, begins to remind them of all they had personally seen the LORD do for them and the people. “…for the LORD, your God is He who has fought for you.” Verse 3

Joshua never ceases to inspire me with his leadership and heart for his people and their children. In the height of his generation and period of time, Joshua continues lead and guide. Encouraging them not to trust in their own accomplishments, and successes, but to remember it is God’s faithfulness that brings them victory!

For victory over the enemy who desires to steal, kill, and destroy our future, remember it is God who is faithful to fight for us!

“The enemy shall not outwit him…” Psalm 89:21

Thanks be to God who fights for me and my next generation! The deceptive lies of going out and coming in have been exposed by the Light of the Truth of Jesus Christ!

I AM the Door! John 10:9 NKJV

Now instead of relying on my own strength, I am equipped with the Word of God secured to my heart for victory! 

“If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (rest). John 10:9 NKJV

Resting in the One who destroyed the enemy of Dor when the stone was rolled away, and His Power walked out!

“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.” Psalm 102:18 NKJV

May you and your children’s, children’s be blessed for a thousand generations in Jesus’s Might Name! Amen!

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photos by denisebalog©2018

Photos captured Jerusalem 2018.

Day 27 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Twenty-seven – Kedesh – Sanctuary

“…the king of Kedesh, one.” Joshua 12:22 NKJV

Sanctuary – a holy place, a set aside place, God’s presence is what makes any place, anything, or anyone holy.

Kedesh, the enemy who seeks to cause fear in the safe place of my prayer time, home, and concerns of my heart.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him…” Joshua 5:13

Looking up, Joshua beheld the Presence of the LORD. “Joshua fell on his face to the earth.”Verse 14

I can’t help but wonder, as Joshua stood “by Jericho” if he was in prayer as he faced the battle before him. Experiencing the Presence of God, falling to his face in the dirt, he worshiped the LORD right there where he was. Changing the place of battle into a set aside place, a Sanctuary of the Presence of God.

“Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:15 NKJV

Joshua’s story encourages me to make any place, anytime, a place set aside for prayer and worship before the Lord.

“Honor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”

Psalm 96:6 NKJV

“The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

The LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.”

Psalm 29:8 NKJV

“Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.” Luke 8:47 NKJV

“Until I entered the sanctuary of God.

Then I saw the whole picture.” Psalm 73:17 The Message

Day 27 – Kedesh – a place set aside – Sanctuary

Blessings and Peace,

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2014

Photo capturing a double heart mosaic found in Jerusalem.

Day 23 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Twenty-three – Shimron Meron – Watchful

“…the king of Shimron Meron, one.” Joshua 12:20 NKJV

Shimron – means watchful, to keep, to guard.

Meron – has no clear definition mentioned of its meaning.

As is my habit of study, I went searching to see if there was any mention of the name Meron anywhere in the Bible. Listed as one of the “officials over King David’s property” was the following line.

“Jehdeiah the Meronothite was over the donkeys.” 1 Chronicles 27:30 NKJV

Jehdeiah touched my heart to the core. Jehdeiahwhom Jehovah makes gladwas watchful, guarded, kept, and met the daily needs, of the humble donkeys of the King.

Lord, I don’t see an enemy here at Shimron Meron, all I see is a sweet, unassuming donkey.

The name Meron from the Hebrew word “mara” means rebel, maltreating, bitter, lashing self with wing, as the ostrich in running.

Causing me to consider, did Joshua face the daily battle of whether to be humble and care for his people or allow the enemy of Shimron Meron to defeat him thereby losing his strength in bitter?

“…but Joshua lodged that night among the people.” Joshua 8:9 NKJV

“So Joshua blessed them…And indeed, when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them.” Joshua 22:7 NKJV

Lord, forgive me the times I complain and mutter in my thoughts, lashing myself with flapping lips like an ostrich on the run. I’m sure it doesn’t make Your heart glad to hear my grumbling.

 Strengthen me at this place of Shimron Meron to be watchful in Your ways, as a humble servant caring for the people. Keep a guard over my mouth and keep my feet ever steady, on Your Kingdom path.

“Tell ye the daughter of Zion,

Behold, thy King cometh unto thee,

Meek and sitting upon an (donkey).Matthew 21:5

“Look, your King is coming to you.

He is righteous and victorious,

Yet He is humble, riding on a donkey –

Riding on a donkey’s colt.”

Zechariah 9:9 NLT

May you too find joy and gladness as the Lord continues to lead us on. Thank you for sharing the journey.

God bless,

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2011

Photo captured on the way to Jerusalem coming out of the area of the Dead Sea and Jericho.

Day 22 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Twenty-two – Hazor – Castle

“…the king of Hazor, one.” Joshua 12:19 NKJV

The king of Hazor had much land. Secure in his castle in the northern territory.

The northern territory of our thoughts and the home of our emotions. Of all the enemies, the castle, the place I call my home is the one I guard fiercely.  The enemy loves to attack in the place of rest, and the siege begins against my mind activating the daily battle.

“But the LORD said to Joshua, “…You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” Joshua 11:6 NKJV

The burn Joshua used to destroy the king of Hazor’s castle, is a verb, an action word, to burn with intent and to destroy. Spreading from burn is a masculine noun meaning a serpent. The idea is of a burning sensation of a serpent’s bite. Specifically, its likeness was of brass. (Brass in Scripture can speak of judgement).

Perhaps Joshua recalled Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the desert. Remembering all who looked to it would be healed.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” John 3:14 NKJV

When the enemy comes against my mind with the intent to destroy, by looking away from burning lies and condemnation, and looking unto Jesus, I am positioned to find peace and rest over the enemy of Hazor.

“Hazor only, that did Joshua burn.” Joshua 11:13 KJV

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed…He put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item…that will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-4 The Message

May we continue to Look Unto Jesus Who for the Joy set before Him endured the Cross for you and me.

God bless,

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2014

Photo captured in the location of Hazor, in the northern part of Israel. Excavation reveals the story of Joshua’s burning and destroying the city. It is believed the city of Hazor occupied over 200 acres of land.

Reference Numbers 21:8 and John 3:13-16

Day 19 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Nineteen – Aphek – Strength

“…the king of Aphek, one.” Joshua 12:18 NKJV

“…they struck them with the edge of the sword.”Joshua 10:39. Wondering, what kind of strength it took to wield a sword? Not in the physical sense, but a spiritual strength.

In questioning the Lord, Joshua’s story began to unfold.

There are several meanings to the word Strength in the Hebrew language.

Caleb, one of the twelve who “..spy out the land”, told Joshua “…I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war…” Joshua 14:11 NKJV 

Caleb used the Hebrew word “koach” to describe his strength as firm and full of vigor. David also used “koach” to express his lack of strength when penning four of the Psalms.

Causing me to ask again, but what kind strength did Joshua employ?

“So, the LORD saved Israel that day … and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore…Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song …He has triumphed gloriously! …The LORD is my strength and song…” Exodus 14:30 to 15:1 & 2

The strength Moses sang about is the Hebrew word “owz” which means force, security, majesty, praise, might, power, strength, prevail and yes, Be strong! Joshua and Cable were among the people praising and singing to the LORD! “The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”

Joshua relied, not his own strength to be victorious, but he prevailed in the Strength of the LORD!

“The LORD is my strength and song!

He is my God, and I praise Him!”  

Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength!

We will sing and praise Your power.” Exodus 15:2 NKJV

Personal Journal Notes:

Often the battle I face each day is the battle against my own strength.

Easily annoyed at the routine things, my strength is used, extended on meaningless battles. No need to fight a foe or some great enemy, I defeat myself along my way.

Turning, changing my position, I begin to speak (wield the two-edged sword of the word of God) lifting up praises to the Lord. Singing of His faithfulness over my life, family, my day. The atmosphere shifts and instead of defense and defeat, I move into the position victory by His Strength and Power!

I wonder if this is why Jesus sang Psalm 118 when He and His disciples left the Upper Room to cross over to the Mount of Olives on the night He began His walk to Calvary? Did He find God’s Strength in the words to complete the mystery?

“The LORD is my strength and my song…

The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

I shall not die, but live,

And declare the works of the LORD…

You are my God, and I will praise You…”

Psalm 118:14-28 NKJV

Thank you for taking the time to join me on the journey. It’s a privilege to walk alongside you. May you find His strength and peace, prepared for another day in His power! In Jesus Name. Amen

Denise

From the Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo – ©2014 Captured of the roof of The Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane. The location of the Church is in the proximity of the traditional site in the garden where Jesus fell to His knees and prayed to the Father, “…not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NKJV

Day 17 – Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous – 31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Seventeen – Tappuah – Apple

“…the king of Tappuah, one.” Joshua 12:17 NKJV

What possible enemy can be at a place called Tappuah or Apple?

The Hebrew word “apple” refers to a sweet fragrance, as from a tree, or the center of an eye – the pupil.

Tappuah is from the Hebrew word naphach. One of the meanings of Tappuah is to “give up” and to “lose hope in life”.

Simply put, Tappuah is the enemy of hope.

I wonder if Joshua every felt the daily battle was too much, and some days he felt hopeless wanting to give up?  All energy gone fighting the enemy of Tappauh.

“He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;

He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” Deuteronomy 32:10 NKJV

I can’t help thinking, as Joshua and the people traveled, they must have been encouraged seeing fruit trees, and “…the pomegranates and figs” in the land. The sweet fragrance in the air been must have refreshing and gave them hope to continue their journey.

I can now see the way to victory! When I find myself in the place of giving up with no hope, breathe deeply, refocus, and see as God sees me, as the apple of His eye! His sweet fragrance refreshes and renews my hope!

Thank You Father for seeing me.

Keeping me safe in Your hand.

For when I lose my focus, I’m an easy target of man.

Extend Your sweet fragrance upon me in the middle of my fight.

For I know Your eye is ever towards Hope,

And You make all things right.

May you always remember how God sees you, as the apple of His eye!

Denise

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings.”Psalm 17:8 NKJV

(Isn’t He the sweetest! David’s Psalm Seventeen is right in step with Joshua’s Day Seventeen. Lord, thank You for keeping us in the center of Your Love today!)

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Poem by denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2011

Photo capturing almond trees in their first bloom of the season. I can remember seeing the petals floating through the air, and hearing our guide explain, those who see the first blossom of the year receive an extra blessing. We were like maidens in bridal procession enjoying the favor of the center of His eye. A hillside in Sephoris, a town located an eye’s distance from Nazareth, Israel 2011

Day 15 – Joshua Journals

Day Fifteen – Makkedah – the place of the shepherds.

“…the king of Makkedah, one.” Joshua 12:16 NKJV

Joshua and the people are shepherds, herdsman, caregivers walking alongside their often-tender folds in the desert.

Lord, is the lesson of Makkedah found in Joshua spending time with you in “friendship” in Adullam? Did the rest, go slow, and wait, in the place of the shepherds, enable Joshua and his people to proceed in peace and find success in their gait?

I wondered if Joshua and the people, by stopping in Makkedah, found friendships and families renewed. Able to move together in peace, and not dreading the possibilities of battles that may lay up ahead. Step by step from Makkedah, the place of the shepherd, they continued their journey in the kindness of Your wait.

“And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah – the place of the shepherds, in peace. No one moved his tongue against any of the children in Israel.” Joshua 10:21 NKJV

Lord, this is probably one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. I’m so prone to run up ahead like leading a herd. Please continue to draw me into Your fold. Showing me the lesson of friendship and wait are found only in You, at my Shepherd’s gate.

“Tell me, O You whom I love,

Where You feed your flock,

Where You make it rest at noon…

If you do not know, O fairest among women,

Follow in the footsteps of the flock,

And feed your little goats beside the Shepherd’s tents.”

Song of Solomon 1:7-8 NKJV

Thank you fellow seekers as I’ve shared my heart with you. I pray you have been blessed and refreshed in the place of wait. May we continue together in peace as we follow the path to the place of the Shepherd.

Denise  

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo captured on a hillside outside Jerusalem. denisebalog©2018

Day 14 – The Joshua Journals

Strong and Courageous -31 Days of Victory Through Joshua’s Battles

Day Fourteen – Adullam – Justice for the people – righteousness

There is no mention of Joshua coming against Adullam in Joshua’s journey except one.

“…the king of Adullam one.” Joshua 12:15 NKJV

Strategically placed between yesterday’ king of Libnah (whiteness) and tomorrow’s unknown, we find Joshua’s story quiet, possibly a secret place of his own.

I wonder, if Joshua weary from the responsibility of leading the people through miles of dry land, stops at Adullam seeking respite and wisdom “justice for the people” to guide them on.

The beckoning darkness from the desert sun may have been very inviting to his tired body.

According to Jewish history, the idea of “justice for the people or righteousness” was so important in the Old Testament times, that the community who housed the Dead Sea scrolls called their most important leader the “Teacher of Righteousness”. It’s not hard to imagine, Joshua as leader of the people, drawn for intimate time with the One he knew who spoke to Moses as a friend. The One who brought Joshua good success at Jericho, the One who made the day stand still, the One who anointed him for the journey.  

Lord, may I be as Joshua. Stopping from the daily battles and journey, to seek intimate time with You. Your friendship is my hiding place, my Adullam. It is here I find rest and victory for my spirit and soul.

“He makes darkness His secret place,

His canopy around Him was dark waters.” Psalm 18:11

Thank you, my friends, for taking the time to seek the One who gives rest in Adullam. I pray you are refreshed knowing even in the silence of our own stories, the secret places, the Lord of Righteousness fights for you and calls you friend.  

“He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

Denise

From The Joshua Journals of denisebalog©2020

Photo by denisebalog©2014

Photos captured in the Dead of the Sea area. Joshua and the people would have seen similar caves as they journeyed north through Southern territory of Israel.

Adullam is geographically further west and inland south of Bethlehem. The water flowing through the limestone, refreshing a traveler’s soul, is known to begin in Bethlehem.  The cave pictured, although it not specifically the cave of Adullam, is typical of the caves found in the wilderness and also known in the Bible as a “stronghold”.

King David’s stories in the cave of Adullam can be found in 1 Samuel 22:1 and 2 Samuel 23:13